County Down


Amid the hills of County Down,
On Ireland's northern shore.
There is a place of fair renown
It's the City of Dromore.
T'was there I found an early love
That touched an inmost core,
And caused my rambling steps to rove
Towards the City of Dromore.

`Neath the Viaduct a tryst we made
Beside a bluebell grove.
And on the river's bank we strayed
To tell our tale of love.
By the Avenue past Bishopscourt,
Which once a Palace bore,
We spied the gambolling lambs at sport
Near the City of Dromore.

We saw the wallflower wildly grow
On the crumbling Castle walls.
And watched the lazy Lagan flow
Where the Cathedral's shadow falls
On the old Cross our thoughts did dwell
Rare relic of days of yore.
And we listened to the vesper bell
In the City of Dromore.

We scaled the spiral Norman Mound
By the feet of ages worn
And viewed the landscape all around
To the distant peaks of Mourne.
As on the summit fringe we stood.
We pictured sights before
Of roofs of straw and swellings rude.
In the City of Dromore.

Those far off scenes I oft recall,
Their memory naught can sever.
Mid shade and shine whate'er befall
They haunt my visions ever.
Though circumstance caused us to part
And seas between us roar;
Still I left a portion of my heart
In the City of Dromore.

Taken from "An Old Timer Talking" Narrated by Hugh Marks of Kilkeel, to W. J. Fitzpatrick.
(Permission of The Mourne Observer)

Around Dromore

"Well, A kep movin' around. a wint to the hirin' fair at Ballynahinch an' hired for six months wi' a farmer called John Patterson, o' the Rann, near Downpatrick, an' then the nixt six months wi' another farmer at The Rann called Tommy Orr, a while efter that a wint to Dromore an' wrought in several places there.". Here Hugh recalled the names of a number of farmers in the Dromore area where he spent hiring periods. There was Robert English's, of Ballaney and every time Hugh re-visited the Dromore area the late Mr. Stanley English (Robert's son) had a warm welcome for him; there were the Mercers', of The Diamond; John Davison's, of Bullsbrook ("a rale gentleman"), and Gribben's of The Black Bog. As a change he engaged with James Henry Burns the Dromore building contractor of half a century ago and got 10 shilling a week for attending a mason. But working with horses was in his blood and soon he returned to the farming and went down Hillsboro way to spend a term with John Carville of Ballygowan. The older stock around Dromore will all have vivid memories of James Ward, the fiddler and thatcher, who lived with his two sisters. Well, Hugh struck up their acquaintance and visited the house quite often while working around Dromore.

One of the big days of the year in Dromore then was the Easter Monday races. "A always got half a day aff to see them," said Hugh, asked if he preferred Dromore district to Mourne for employment, Hugh replied: "Ye had to work ivery bit as hard, but there wuz better grub an' better hours", many a time a be thinkin' o' the sister, poor oul' Kate, an' wunnerin' how she's doin'  said Hugh. So in return for all the entertainment he gave us we felt it as little as we could do to take Hugh on a trip to Dromore to see his sister. We set out one Saturday and after a pleasant drive, Hugh recalling many familiar landmarks along the way, we arrived at Dromore. In Mr. Trench's pub off the Square Hugh met one old-timer, who although he didn't exactly remember Hugh, he had heard about him and he knew all the farmers he had worked for and we had a very enjoyable interlude and many hearty laughs talking over Hugh's reminiscences.

At length we arrived at Mr. Joe Kelly's house outside Banbridge. Joe is Hugh's nephew and there at present Mrs. Kate Kelly is staying with her devoted son. Her husband, the late Mr. Tom Kelly, had a little shop in Rampart Street, Dromore, and she lived with another son at the Quilly Burn, Dromore, until recently. Though she was not in the best of health she gave us all a great welcome and was most anxious for news of the Mourne country and some of the old-timers she knew there.

(Hugh Marks was my Grandmothers brother)


 A suppose ye know what blackfuttin' manes, there's some that disn't an' thinks it has somethin' to do wi' party works, but it's far from it, a can tell ye. when a wuz in the Dromore district A met a fella called Tam. Wan night he says to me, Hugh, says he, what do you say about goin' to ask the woman for me. wull ye do blackfut for me? well, man, a wull that, says I, though that wuz wan jab a niver had done afore.,very good , says he. So we went an' got two pints o' special whiskey an had a few drams o' the hard stuff in the pub afore we set out, to put a bit o' heart into us, for ye know it takes that whin it comes to a jab lek that, well, whun we landed at the house there wuz an oul' man an' an' oul woman sittin' in ivery corner, an' there wur two girls busy knittin', the oul' pair bid us sit forrit to the hate for it wuz a bitter coul' night. a produced me bottle an' trated the oul' pair an' give Tam a drop an' tuk a jorum meself. We talked about the weather an' the crops, an' wan thing an' another, but there wuz no sign o' Tam broachin' cargo. At last a says, 'well, A don't know whether ye know what our erran' is or not, but this man wants a woman an' a have come along wi' him to ask your daughter Mary. a cud see that the ouldest girl wuz blushin' all over her face the minute a spoke, well', says the oul' man she's oul' enough now to plase herself. what does yer frien' folly? Oh,' says me man, spakin' up, am the best ploughman in the counthry an' can do all kin's o' farmwork,  at the same time a knowed he wuz only what ye might call a durty middlin' ploughman, but o' coorse a had to do me best for him, well, there wuz nothin' more said for a wheen o' minutes, an' then A broke the ice again. a says, 'what d'ye say Mary?' "But before Mary had time to say she wud or she wudn't, yer man spakes out: och, A don't think all bother. Sure the skin o' a good man's worth two weemin' any day'. Well, if ye had stabbed me wi' a knife ye wudn't have got blood in me, A wuz that much stuck. A niver wuz as much lit down in me life, makin' a fool o' me an' the poor girl too. An' to make things worse, the big girl spakes out, 'what odds about him. an  turnin' to me she says, 'What about yourself. Are you not lookin' for a woman?.Well, be me sang, that shook me, for a wuzn't in that way o' thinkin' at the time, so all a cud do wuz tell the dacent girl that a hadn't a thought o' marryin' at the time, an' a wuz that gunked a made for the dure an' bid them good night. yer man followed me, an' when a got him on the hard, a drew out and whimmeled him. take that, a says, ye low down blackguard ye, you call yerself a man. ye're as low as the dirt that sticks to yer feet, go yer own road now, for a wudn't be seen in yer company. A giver seen him agin, for A left that part o' the counthry soon efter, and whether he iver got a woman or not a know not, an' divil the hair A care ayther.


The Ghost of Gillhall

By Gillian Vage

Gillhall Estate is situated on the Lurgan Road in Dromore Co. Down. It consisted of a vast estate of land, farm buildings and an impressive house which had been built between 1670 and 1680 by John Magill. Sadly the house is no longer standing after a fire in 1969 which rendered it unstable and a hazard. The house was then demolished by the Territorial Army.

Gillhall was as impressive inside as it was out. Many of the rooms were so large that they required a fireplace at both ends for enough heat. There were remarkable carvings inside the house, an example being the barley-sugar banisters and the carved swags of foliage on the staircase.

Gillhall was also renowned for its reputation of being one of the most notorious 'haunted houses' in Ireland. This was due to the Earl of Tyrone who made a pact with his cousin, Lady Beresford. The story is that as children Lady Nichola Beresford and John Power, Lord Tyrone, vowed that whoever died first would come back in the form of a ghost to prove to the other that there was a life after death. One night in 1693 while she was staying at Gillhall, Lady Beresford was visited by the ghost of Lord Tyrone who told her that there was indeed a life after death. To convince Lady Beresford that he was a genuine apparition and not just a figment of her imagination, he made various predictions, notably that she would have a son who would marry his niece, the heiress of Curraghmore and the more shocking prediction that Lady Beresford would die on her 47th birthday.

His predictions all came true!! To further convince Lady Beresford of his visit he touched her wrist which made the flesh and sinews shrink, Lady Beresford wearing a piece of black ribbon to hide this for the rest of her life. When the fifth Earl of Clanwilliam brought his bride to Gillhall in 1909, it is said that she found the ghosts of Gillhall too much to bear and so the house was abandoned by the family. In 1910 the Earl and his wife bought Montalto in Ballynahinch. From then onwards Gillhall stood empty and deserted, except for the small portion of the house in which the recent owner's land steward and his family could live in. In 1945 the land steward, who was a local man by the name of Mr Robert Matchet, and his family were surprised when they received a visit by two American soldiers who told them of a room in the house where they could find a pane of glass in the window with a verse written on it. The soldier told of how his grandmother had been a servant in the house at the time and had told him the story of how one of the young ladies in the house had been mischievous and so to punish her the girls father had locked her in this room for a short spell of time. While she was in the room the young girl took her diamond ring and proceeded to write the following on the window..

The beauty of holiness
Is best understood
To him that beauty beheld
By the fair and the good.

No-one had previously known about this until the Americans' visit.

By 1966 the house was in an advanced state of decay. It was then that the Irish Georgian Society carried out much needed repairs, without which it would definitely have been past saving. The Society hoped that having made the house watertight they could restore the house further at a later date. Unfortunately it was shortly after their first attempt at restoring the full glory of Gillhall that the house fell victim to fire. Gillhall may not be standing, but the legend of Gillhall certainly lives on. People are still known to pass the gates of Gillhall as quickly as possible for fear of seeing the infamous ghost.

From the Dromore and District Local Historical Groups Journal (Volume 5)

More on the ghost of Gill hall


The Argus (Melbourne, Saturday 18 April 1936

A REMARKABLE story of the fulfilment of a pact made In the life time of two people after the death of one of the parties is revealed in a record in the possession of the agent of the Beresford family. When It was submitted to one of the present generation of Beresfords, he declared that it has always been, and still is, accepted by the family as genuine.

About the year 1700 at Gill Hall, Dromore, County down, about 20 miles from Belfast, two orphans met as wards of a guardian , a boy who was afterwards Lord Tyrone and a girl who became the wife of Sir Marcus Beresford. Their custodian instilled Into their young minds the principles of Deism, a belief In the existence of God, but the rejection of the revealed religion: In other words, a natural religion. When each was about the age of 14 years, the two were transferred to a guardian, who was shocked at the Impression made on the minds of the children, and at once began to persuade them to embrace the Christian belief. Though these efforts were insufficient to convince them, they left their minds in a state of confusion. Under both influences to which they had been subjected the boy and girl became contemplative to the point of morbidity

 When, In the course of time, they were parted, they maintained their brotherly and sisterly affection. Reaching maturity, they discussed In their correspondence the future, especially in relation to the hereafter, and it Is perhaps natural that they should make a pact that which- ever should predecease the other should re- turn in spirit and declare which of the two teachings that they had imbibed was the true religion. When the girl became the wife of Sir Marcus Beresford she still kept up her close correspondence with Lord Tyrone; Indeed, Sir Marcus and Lady Beresford and Lord Tyrone often ex- changed extended visits.

The Black Ribbon

There carne one morning when Lady Beresford went to the breakfast table with strong evidence of distraction and of having passed a restless night. On her wrist she wore a black ribbon. To Sir Marcus Beresfords inquiry regarding her health and whether anything had disturbed her she replied that she was as well as usual, but her bearing did not convince him. Noticing the black ribbon, he asked whether she had hurt her wrist.  Not only did she assure him that her wrist was not hurt, but asked him not to allude again to the ribbon, which she said she would always wear. While still at breakfast she asked whether the mail had been delivered, as she expected a letter telling her of the death of Lord Tyrone. "The death of Lord Tyrone! Good Heavens, what do you mean?" exclaimed Sir Marcus. "Yes," she said, he died last Tuesday at 4 o'clock." At that moment a servant handed to her a letter sealed with black sealing-wax. Sir Marcus Beresford opened the letter, which was from Lord Tyrone's steward, and conveyed the news of Lord Tyrone's death on Tuesday at 4 o'clock. Fearing the effect of the news upon her, her husband entreated Lady Beresford to not let herself brood or become unhappy at the loss of her lifelong friend, but she declared that on the contrary she was much easier In her mind than she had been for a very long time. She then disclosed to him that he was to realise his most ardent ambition to become the father of a son. In due course a son was born. Lady Beresford already had two daughters.

Death Warrant

Sir Marcus Beresford lived only four years after the birth of the boy, and his widow went into close seclusion except that she visited the family of a clergyman in the village and received an intimate woman friend and the clergyman who had baptised her. The village clergyman's family consisted only of himself, his wife, and one son. Despite the great disparity in their ages, Lady Beresford a few years later married this son. The young man proved to be destitute of all virtue and humanity; ho was in fact an abandoned libertine. By him she had two daughters. Then came a period of separation on account of the husband's conduct, but several years later on his professed reformation she was reconciled to him. On the anniversary of her birth (as she thought the 48th), she was about to be delivered of another child. Her old friend who had baptised her called to offer her birthday greetings and corrected her when she claimed 48 years. He said he had checked the registration of her birth and she was only 47. He was aghast when she earnestly declared that he had signed her death warrant. She requested him to leave her, as she had not long to live and had much to settle before she died. At her urgent request her son and her old lady friend were sent for. To them she made the following startling revelation:

Talk With a Ghost

"One night when I was asleep I awakened to find Lord Tyrone sitting at my bedside. I said to him, 'For heaven's sake, Lord Tyrone, by what means and for what purpose have you come at this time of night?' 'Have you forgotten our promise?' he said. 'I died last Tuesday at 4 o'clock, and have been permitted to appear to you and declare that the revealed religion is the true and only religion by which we can be saved. You are with child of a son and It is decreed that he shall marry my daughter.

 Not many years after his birth Sir Marcus Beresford will die, and you will marry again to a man by whose ill-treatment you will be rendered miserable. You will bring him two daughters, and afterwards a son, in the childbed of. whom you will die in your 47th year.' 'Just heaven said I, 'and cannot I prevent this?' 'Undoubtedly you may, he returned, 'you are a free agent, and may prevent it all by resisting every temptation to a second marriage, but your passions are strong. You have not that power. ... If after this warning you persist your lot in another world will be miserable indeed. ..." 'When morning comes,' said I, 'how shall I be convinced that your appearance has been real and not a phantom of imagination?' 'Will not the news of my death be sufficient to convince you?' 'No,' I returned, 'I might have had such a dream, and that dream might come to pass. I wish to have stronger proof of Its reality.' .¿You shall,' he said. Then waving his hand the bed curtains, which were of crimson velvet, were Instantly drawn through an Iron hoop by which the tester of the bed, which was of an oval form, was suspended. 'In that,' he said, 'you cannot be mistaken; no mortal could have performed It.' "True,' I said, 'but sleeping we often possess greater strength than awake. I could not have done it awake; asleep I might. I shall still doubt.' He then wrote in pencil on a page of my notebook, saying, 'You know my writing.' 'Still,' said I, 'in sleep I might. Imitate your hand.' 'You are hard of belief,' he retorted. '

I must not touch you as It would Injure you irreparably. It is not for spirits to touch mortal flesh.' 'I do not regard a small blemish," said I. He touched my wrist, and in a moment the sinews shrunk. 'While you live let no mortal eye behold that wrist,' he warned. 'To see it would be sacrilege.' I turned to him again, but he was gone! After a long state of agitation and showers of tears I arose and dressed. With a long-handled mop I released the disarranged curtain and looked by note book in my bureau. I then took out a piece of black ribbon and bound it around my wrist, which had withered and shrunk where It had been touched by the shade of Lord Tyrone."

Turning to her son. she  told him of what passed between her and his father at breakfast; how all that had been predicted by the wraith of Lord Tyrone had come to pass, adding:-"Of the near approach of my death, therefore, I enterain

not the least doubt but I do not dread its arrival armed as I am with the sacred precepts of Christianity When I um dead I wish that you and my lady would unbind my wrists so that you and my son may behold It,  She entreated her son to behave so as to merit the high honour of union with Lord Tyrone's daughter Her visitors retired and she settled to sleep Half an hour later they were summoned bv the maid and found the místress had died. When the ribbon was removed, the wrist was found as she had described withered and shrunk.

Lady Beresfords son did marry Lord Tyrone's daughter The black ribbon and and the note book are in the possession of the lady's narrator who together with Lord Tyrone's family declared that they were ready to attest the truth of this remarkable story


by Verna (McBride) Tomlinson.

When my great grandparents, Samuel and Elizabeth (Gilliland) McBride and two small daughters, emigrated from Dromore, County Down, in 1831, the ship on which they set sail would have taken two months or more to arrive in Canada. If there were unfavourable winds or fogs near the Banks of Newfoundland, the ships sometimes took much longer to arrive at the mouth of the St. Lawrence River. Stories are told of horribly crowded ships. Many of these carried the dreaded disease cholera on board. Many adults as well as children died during the voyages.

James Rintoul of Dufferin County wrote many letters to his brother from when he first left home. He says in his letters that in 1857 it took three months for their ship to arrive in Toronto. During the crossing of the Atlantic, which was probably very similar to many other crossings, they were always at the mercy of the weather. The ship may have sailed at about 7-8 knots for most of the trip. At one stage their ship came to a stand-still for almost 12 hours, then the wind came up and bagpipes and fiddling were heard on deck. It must have then become quite windy, because for two nights in a row the main top mast was blown off. Nearly every day there were corpses put overboard, and public worship was held on deck. Near the end of July they were nearing the banks of Newfoundland. When they were within a short distance of land, they met several fishing boats and were able to purchase fresh fish. The survivors of the long, exhausting voyage were at last nearing their destination.

The author of 'The Voyage of the Naparima', James Mangan, says "After surviving the dangerous moods of the Atlantic, ships bound for Canadian ports still have the hazards of the St. Lawrence River to face. Local pilots are the only ones who know how to steer clear of the danger. But owing to the heavy traffic in emigrants there are not enough seasoned pilots for all the ships. The Mingan Rocks, for example - they were pointed out to me by a crew member - have been the scene of several tragedies. One of the emigrant ships, I am told, was wrecked on the rocks early in May (1847) and there was not a single survivor. "The emigrant ships were stopped at Grosse Lie, a quarantine station. Many had the dreaded cholera or Typhus aboard. It is a beautiful, hilly, wooded island, approximately one mile long by one-half mile wide and situated thirty miles down the St. Lawrence from Quebec City. It is just off the south-shore village of Montmagny.

There was a policed quarantine, and the immigrants had to land, be counted, and were lodged in small tents made available to them. They then had to boil all their clothes before they could continue the trip up the St. Lawrence. There were boilers provided for them and they usually had to spend some time on the island. If the weather was poor, they would have to spend a few miserable nights while their clothes dried before returning to ship. Those who were ill with typhus or cholera were placed in separate tents, and families were not allowed to visit. Many left Ireland who were weakened from illness and hunger and not in condition to travel, but now were never to leave the island. These luckless Irish were left behind in the cemeteries of Grosse lie.

During those busy years of heavy immigration, all ships were supposed to stop at this small island. When there were more than the facilities could handle, a few ships would be quickly checked and then sent on their way. These cursory checks were, almost certainly, one of the reasons for the spread of Cholera and Typhus in Canada in the 1830s and 1840s. The first cases in Upper Canada were reported June 17, 1832, at Prescott on the St. Lawrence, seven days by boat from Montreal. The people, upon learning of this, were panic stricken. The next day in Kingston the 'Chronicle' made the people still more fearful with the following poem;

From south to north hath the cholera come,
He came like a despot king;
He hath swept the earth with a conqueror's stoop,
And the air with a spirit's wing,

We shut him out with a girdle of ships,
And a guarded quarantine;
What ho! now which of your watches slept?
The cholera's past your line!

There's a curse on the blessed sun and air,
What will he do for breath?
For breath, which was once but a word for life,
Is now but a word for death...

The months pass on, and the circle spreads,
And the time is drawing nigh,
When each street may have a darkened house,
Or a coffin passing by.

In Montreal there is a ten foot tall, rugged, limestone boulder. The stone is enclosed with an iron picket fence and is located at the entrance to Victoria Bridge. It is called "The Irish Stone" and is the city's tribute to the 6,000, and more, Irish who died during the year 1847 of typhus, cholera, and famine before they could realise their dreams.


"The Making of a Nation"
By Trevor Martin

In recent times we have heard a lot from American politicians about the place Ireland and the Irish nation have in the hearts of the American people. There have been countless documentaries, books and even feature films about the great Irish Emigration during the years of the potato famine. What we seem to know little about is that another emigration, arguably a more significant one, had taken place earlier.

This was the emigration of the Ulster Presbyterians in the 18th Century. It was these emigrants who influenced and shaped the growing British colony into the United States of America. They were perhaps the most important players and were rightly called God's Frontiersmen.

What I want to look at in this article is the theory that our ancestors from Dromore may well have played their part in this historic occasion. We all know now of how Drew Nelson, one of Dromore's local councillors, on a visit to New York, discovered the existence of a town called Drumore. Drew pursued his enquiries further and found that many of the local farms had familiar names, and indeed some of the citizens had surnames that would not be out of place here. On contacting the Drumore Township Supervisors, they indeed confirmed that their area was named after Dromore, a town in County Down. So where is it and how did they get there ?
Drumore, Pennsylvania

In 1680 William Penn Jr. petitioned Charles II for a tract of land in the new Americas. Penn was a Quaker, and they were much persecuted in England at that time by the Established Church. Charles II owed the Penn family a considerable amount of money, so, in 1681, to erase his debt, he gave William Penn a tract of land between New York and Maryland. Penn left England with a group of Quakers to colonise the land which he named as Pennsylvania. Penn established the land as a bastion of religious tolerance in an intolerant world (a novel idea and one we could well learn from) and so attracted many races fleeing persecution.

Drumore is in the state of Pennsylvania, on the North Eastern seaboard of the United States. It is in Lancaster County located on the southern boundary of Pennsylvania on its border with Maryland. The nearest cities to it are Baltimore, Philadelphia, Washington and New York. The area stretches from the Mason Dixon line in the north to York County on the Susquehanna River in the south. York County is significant in its direct
connection with Dromore, as we shall see later on in the article. Pennsylvania is second only to Delaware in the formation of the Union of American States and was the driving force in the War of Independence.

Although the area had a plentiful supply of iron ore, the region is mainly agricultural due to the soft rolling farmland and good soil. It is fertile land well watered by the Susquehanna, Octorara and Muddy Run rivers. The Susquehanna is a mighty river, a mile wide in places, and was dammed in the 1920s to provide electricity for the area. The oldest building is the Chestnut Level Presbyterian Church. The first church was destroyed accidentally in a fire in 1729. The present church, built in 1750, was substantially renovated in 1833.

The area, although not unlike Co Down in looks, has no main conurbation or centre. There are two small settlements, Fairfield, with 12 houses, and Liberty Square, with 6 houses. The rest of the township is decidedly rural. The area is also the home of the Pennsylvania Dutch which is actually incorrect as they are really German. The confusion coming because they originally came from 'Deutchsland'. They were being persecuted in their own country and flocked to William Penn's land of tolerance. They were sects of the Anabaptist Church, mainly Mennonites, Brethren and, perhaps most famous of all, Amish. The Amish (profiled in the film "Witness") live simple lives forsaking electricity, machinery and cars. They dress plainly in black suits with large broad brimmed hats, and the women wear traditional bonnets.
The Ulster Scots Inheritance

Research in America shows that 12% of the population (40M) can claim Irish descent, yet, of that 40M, 56% are Protestant, mostly Presbyterian, Baptist and Methodist. In media reports from America we hear nothing about them. They are not a powerful pressure or lobby group such as the Friends of Ireland. The reasons for this are fairly simple: The Famine of 1860, in which the main emigrants were poor Catholics driven from the land by hunger and eviction, and the Ulster emigration of the 18th Century, when middle and working class Presbyterians and other Dissenters were driven out by persecution. In the Famine emigration the poor were forced to leave a land that they loved to go to a land that they knew nothing about. They, therefore, brought with them their historical and cultural baggage together with a healthy hatred of Britain and the British government whom they saw as standing aside whilst the people starved. As over the years they had no way to expunge this hatred, they clung to their past and even to this day are Irish Americans, not Americans or even American Irish.

The Ulster Presbyterian emigration was different, as they left a land where they were despised for a new start in a land of religious tolerance and freedom. They also had no love for the British but, through the War of Independence, got a sort of revenge, so they quickly lost their past and became Americans.
The Reasons for Emigration

From 1610 onwards we had the plantation of Ulster by Lowland Scots, mostly dissenters of the Calvinistic faith. In 1680 the power base in the kingdom changed, and we had the rise of James II and the preference for Catholics both in getting power and favour back in Ireland. The English, however, did not want a Catholic monarch, so they looked abroad for a saviour, and, in 1689, William of Orange, for his own reasons, agreed to contest the throne of England. In 1691 he finally defeated James's forces and restored power and privilege to Protestants.

William died suddenly, following a fall from his horse in 1702, and was replaced by his daughter Anne, a weak and ineffectual girl. The High Anglican Church then became a major power player in government and enacted legislation against both Catholic and Dissenter. The Test Act required magistrates and others in authority to renounce their faith and take the sacraments of the Established Church. This discriminated against Presbyterians who were told they could not sanctify marriage, officiate at burials or teach their faith.
Leaving for the New World

Thus began a migration that was to last for some 60 years. As the Catholics were mostly poor, they had to accept their lot, but some 250,000 Protestants (mostly Presbyterian) emigrated. This constituted 25% of population and 25% of trading economy, so they were mostly rich affluent middle classes. In 1717 the first ship, "The Friends Goodwill", left Larne harbour for Boston with 52 passengers. In the year 1717 5,000 left from Belfast, Larne, Londonderry and Newry for ports such as Baltimore, New York and Philadelphia. There were a series of emigrations after that, mostly happening when things got particularly bad, either through natural occurrences like drought or through excessive land lease charges. The rise in land lease taxation caused the emigration of 1771-1775, with 30,000 leaving in 1775 alone.
Pennsylvania and the Ulster Connection

James Logan, born in Lurgan, County Armagh, and a friend of William Penn, was then Secretary in the Pennsylvanian Congress. He gave the newly arrived Ulster Scots a tract of land in what was then known as Caster County but was shortly to become Lancaster County, the area where Drumore is situated. It is here, I think, we begin to establish a direct linkage between our respective communities.

By the end of the 18th. Century almost 14% of all the settlers in America were Scots Irish or Ulster folk, mostly in the states of Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Kentucky and the Carolinas. They were true pioneers as these lands were then the boundaries of the extent of new settlements in America. The Ulstermen were mainly located on what was then the Great Pennsylvanian Wagon Road cutting directly through Lancaster County. It was a hard life, scraping a living, settling a country, establishing farms and naturally fighting the Indians on whom they were very hard. I take no pride in stating that the Ulster settlers shocked their Quaker neighbours in taking much land forcibly from the Native Americans. Logan wrote in 1720:

"At the time we were apprehensive of the Northern Indians. I therefore thought it would be prudent to plant a settlement of such men who formerly had so bravely defended Enniskillen and Londonderry as a frontier in case of any disturbance. These people if kindly dealt with will be orderly as they have hitherto been and will I expect be a fine example to others" But Logan wanted to have his cake and eat it. He was happy to use the new settlers but unhappy when they demanded more land or greater support. A settlement of 5 families from the north of Ireland give me more problems than 50 other people ...... It looks as if Ireland is to send all her inhabitants hither, for last week no less than six ships arrived, and every week two or three arrive also. They soon will make themselves proprietors of the province"
The Revolutionary War

So why did these people, newly arrived in a country, play such a role in the subsequent revolutionary war? It gets back to their reasons for emigrating. They were sent from their own land through persecution by the British Government, and they were getting established in a new world free from religious intolerance and used by the British in that world at the sharp end as a barrier against the Native Americans. It was only logical then that, when America elected for Independence, they would be there in numbers, as this was now their country and their fight.

They fought bravely throughout the War defeating the British at the final battle at Kings Mountain. If we look at the list of the heroes of Kings Mountain: Joseph Alexander born Co Antrim, William Armstrong born North of Ireland, John Brown born Londonderry, William Caldwell born Belfast, Bellingsby Gibson born Londonderry, Arthur Irwin born Co Antrim, Samuel Mackie and Edward Martin both born Co Tyrone, Arthur Patterson born North of Ireland, etc.
The quotations from the period testify to their importance..

"We have lost America through the Irish" Lord Mountjoy in the House of Commons.

"I hear that our American cousin has run off with a Scots-Irish parson" Horace Walpole, British Prime Minister

"Half their Army were from Ireland - Scots Irish" British Major General testifying to Parliament.

"Presbyterianism is at the bottom of this whole conspiracy, it has supplied it with vigour and will never rest until something is decided upon" Lord Dartmouth writing from New York 1776

"Call this war by whatever you may, only call it not an American rebellion: it is nothing more than a Scots Irish Presbyterian Rebellion" British Officer writing in 1778

Drumore, as with many other communities, played a major part in this war. Captain William Steele of Drumore, originally from the north of Ireland, fought at the Battles of Germantown and Brandywine. His seven sons all enlisted into the Revolutionary Army. One son, General John Steele, born in Drumore in 1756, was a company commander in the American forces at the age of nineteen. Company Commander Robert King, whose father came from the north of Ireland, was another famed soldier in the wars.
Declaration of Independence 1776

The Declaration of Independence had the prints of Ulster Scots all over it. The document was transcribed by Charles Thompson from Maghera and printed by John Dunlap from Strabane. Of the 56 signatories to the document, 8 are from Ulster;

William Whipple
Robert Paine, Dungannon
Thomas McKean, Ballymoney
Thomas Nelson, Strabane
Matthew Thornfield, Londonderry
George Taylor, Son of Ulster Presbyterian Minister
Edward Rutledge, Son of Presbyterian Minister
John Hancock, Banbridge

John Hancock's signature is the first and the biggest. He said he did it that way because George III, who was short sighted, could read it. The first newspaper outside America to publish the news and the complete transcription of the Declaration was the Belfast: Newsletter. It arrived here on a packet bound for London, so it was published even before George III had read it.
American Presidents with Ulster Roots

We contributed greatly to leaders in the White House:

Andrew Jackson 1829-37, Boneybefore, near Carrickfergus
James Polk (Pollock) 1845-49, Londonderry
James Buchanan 1857-61, Denoran, Omagh
Andrew Johnson 1865-69, Mounthill, Larne
Ulysses Simpson Grant 1869-71, Dergenagh, Dungannon
Chester Alan Arthur 1881-85, Cullybackey, Co Antrim
Grover Clevland 1885-89, Grandfather Abner Neal from Co Antrim
Benjamin Harrison 1889-93, Both sets of grandparents from north of Ireland
William McKinley 1897-1901, Conagher, Ballymoney
Woodrow Wilson 1913-21, Dergault, Co Tyrone
Richard Nixon 1969-74, Ancestors Millhouse and Nixon from Co Antrim
Is there, therefore, really a link between Dromore and Drumore?

I think there is. As I have pointed out earlier in the article, the historical a circumstantial evidence is overwhelming. Drumore, confirmed as a township in 1729, the cornerstone of Southern Lancaster County (Caster County given by James Log which originally included other townships with Ulster names such as Colerain. It settled almost exclusively by the Scots Irish and mainly by Presbyterians as early as 17 The Southern Lancaster History book gives Drumore as named after Druim More (G Ridge) in Co Down. The township books from 1765 to 1800 also give the spelling Dromore, the same as ours, but thereafter it changed. A look at the original land grants for the whole county shows names such as Dungannon, Downpatrick, Dundrum, Lisburn,Lurgan and Belmont in addition to Dromore, so the settlers took some of their history with them.

Freemen of the Drumore township in 1756 included Alexanders, Boyds, Carsons, Cunninghams, Dicksons, Hutchinsons, Johnstons, Martins, McFaddens, McKees, Pattersons, Porters, Steeles, Thompsons, and Wards. A bit like the roll call in a Dromore school today.

This is further strengthened in a direct link between Springfield House on the Lurgan Road, Dromore, and York County, the neighbouring County to Drumore. The letter (printed in full in Vol. 3 of our Journal) was sent in 1789 from John Dennison in the new world to his brother Samuel in Dromore and is an actual link between both communities. John Dennison fought with the militia at the Battle of Germantown thus playing his small part in the birth of a great nation. The links are reawakening with the Town Twinning taking place and visits across the Atlantic from both sides. This is an exciting time for all involved and much augers for the future as both communities reactivate a link that was established over two and a half centuries ago.


Solanco Heritage Book, 1729-1991
God's Frontiersmen, Rory Fitzpatrick
A History of Ulster, Jonathon Bardon
Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee, Dee Brown
Ulster Scots in the Hills of Tennessee, Billy Kennedy


by Gilbert Watson

In North East Ulster hand-loom weaving gave employment to a large number of people, and immense quantities of muslin were produced there mainly for Glasgow manufacturers. The American Civil War commenced in the Spring of 1861, and the effects of that conflict on the cotton industry were felt in the Lisburn area and in the Maze and Broomhedge in particular. As the American war entered its second year, with large tracts of the cotton lands destroyed or untilled, the imports of cotton into the United Kingdom fell dramatically and resulted in unemployment and suffering among the weavers and their families. It was in Lisburn and its neighbourhood that the greatest deprivation and hardship was endured, and alarming reports of destitution and semi-starvation were accumulating during Christmas week 1862.

During the Christmas holidays, David Carlisle, the Lisburn agent for a Glasgow muslin manufacturer, inspected the cottages of weavers in the Maze area, and, about the same time, Hugh McCall investigated the conditions of cotton weavers in Lisburn. These enquiries produced a mass of evidence that severe poverty and starvation was general among the weaver population, and, as the result of a petition presented to Lisburn town commissioners, a meeting was held in the Court-House to establish a relief fund. The speakers at the public meeting held on 8th January 1863 included James Megarry, Hugh McCall, Rev. E. Franks and David Beatty who gave the following reports.

Mr James Megarry of Broomhedge stated that they had heard a great deal about the Lancashire distress, and of the efforts that had been made to relieve it, but he believed that the people of their own neighbourhood at the present time were in a more pitiable condition than the operatives referred to. He believed there were many men in the Maze and Broomhedge districts who, if they did not get immediate assistance, would be forced to take it where they could get it, or death must be the result. They had borne all patiently. There was not another district in Ireland, or England either, in which the people could have borne their distress in the same way while almost starving; and it was the last thing they would do to ask assistance. Some of the children of these poor parents would touch the feelings of the most careless.

Mr Hugh McCall reported that within a circle of ten or twelve miles around Lisburn, there existed a greater number of hand-loom weavers than could be found in either Manchester, Bolton or Glasgow, but the wages earned by Irish weavers, even in the best times, were far under those realised by the English or Scots operatives. No other class of workmen in the kingdom were so easily pleased in the matter of wages as the weavers of the North of Ireland. Their wants were few and their habits simple; indeed a state of things which an English operative could only look upon as that of sheer poverty could be considered by an Ulster hand-loom weaver as a condition of comparative comfort. He did not exaggerate when he stated that a Lancashire man would eat up in a single day an entire week's earnings of a Down or Antrim weaver.

Rev. E. Franks, a Wesleyan Minister stationed at the Maze, addressed the meeting at some length on scenes of distress which had come under his own notice, and which he depicted with such graphic power as to elect the entire sympathy of every person present. He spoke of the cotton weavers of the district as a class of highly moral men, and second to none with whom he had ever before come in contact. He said that the people of the Maze were those of which any nation might well be proud. Mr David Beatty referred to the very alarming reports which had been heard from Broomhedge and the Maze by gentlemen in whom he could place the utmost reliance. They were honest men, with honest hearts, and these poor weavers would live on turnips rather than proclaim their poverty; but the day of relief had dawned and he felt happy to see so many of his townsmen coming forward in such an honourable cause.

The meeting passed resolutions to provide effective assistance, open a subscription list and appoint a committee to organise relief. The committee immediately began its charitable work. Advertisements were published in the Belfast newspapers for twenty tons of Indian meal, five tons of oatmeal and ten tons of coal. Blankets were ordered from a Yorkshire manufacturer, and, on the afternoon of the day of the meeting, houses and workshops of some of the most distressed people were visited and each family given an order for rations of food and fuel.

A Ladies Convention was established which met twice a week and arranged the purchase of clothing, the making of underclothing, sheets, blankets, frocks for girls and children, and their distribution among the female section of the cotton weavers. The committee set about raising funds, and letters soliciting aid were written to the Marquis of Hertford K.G., manufacturers and merchants in Belfast, Liverpool, Scotland, New York, Philadelphia, Montreal, Ottawa and Toronto. Letters and reports were published in the Liverpool Daily Post, the Belfast News Letter and Northern Whig and The Times. The following extract from a letter to The Times by Hugh McCall, Secretary of the Relief Fund, paints a dismal picture;

"The American war, in addition to all other evils that followed in its train, deprived the great majority of these people of their sole means of employment. Not only was one principal outlet for the sale of muslins and calicoes partly sealed up, but supplies of raw material fell off, and, as a consequence, prices rose so high that manufacturers could not make goods to sell at a profit.

On the poor weavers and embroiderers in the North of Ireland the result fell with great severity. Employment decreased until the ratio of the idle to those in work became in some parts of the country as five to one. Some idea of the state of the weaving ranks in Lisburn and its neighbourhood may be formed from the fact that eight manufacturing houses which, at the close of 1860, gave regular work to 10,000 hands, have not at present 1,000 looms in work. Ten Belfast firms that had 1,500 persons employed in Lisburn, the Maze, Broomhedge, and other localities, have only 300 weavers engaged at present, and many of the manufacturers have ceased to make goods altogether.

This decrease of employment has been going on for nearly two years, and is now at the lowest point ever reached. In fact, whole families for weeks past have been eking out existence on a class of food which would hardly be given to the lower animals. I shall give a few cases: One poor woman in the neighbourhood of the Maze, and who received relief off the Committee yesterday, has a sickly husband out of work and six small children. She declared that had it not been that a neighbour gave her some turnips which she had boiled and used as food, she and her children might have been lost - these turnips being the entire sustenance they had had from Saturday till Monday. In another instance a family of ten was found not only without food, but on being questioned on the matter, it turned out that not a single shirt or other article of body linen was among the wretched group.

Inquiry having been made on this point in the next cabin that was examined, a poor fellow said that he and his wife had still some remnants of underclothing, but that of such necessaries the children were utterly destitute. Again, there is an almost total want of beds and bedding in the habitations of the cotton weavers. In not a few cases a parcel of damp straw, without either sheet or blanket, forms the sole sleeping place of the father, mother, and two or three mere infants, each resting at night in the ragged garments worn by day. Even in the less destitute abodes of the operatives, the Committee found entire families without a single shred of blanket, an old sheet and quilt constituting the sole amount of bedclothes. One case there was where eight children, from the ages of four to eighteen, slept with the parents in one department.

The wages of the people in work are far below the lowest ever known. Not even in the former history of the labour market in the West of Ireland could sadder examples be found. It is not unusual to find men who must work at the loom fourteen hours a day to earn a net income of 4s per week - some make only 3s, and others again 2s 6d for six days work. In all their privations there has been kept up a spirit of independence, and a disposition to battle as long as possible against the inroads of want that seems almost incredible. It is quite usual to find families existing on a sort of gruel, made of the cheap description of Indian meal, and this only twice a day; others, again, have been living on boiled cabbage, with a little oatmeal shaken over it."

The appeals for support and finance by the Committee were successful, and gifts of food, clothing, services and money were received from home and abroad. The winter was severe and the claims on the relief fund increased, but the aid given to the poor households never exceeded one shillings worth of meal and coal to each member of the family, and this enabled large numbers to be supported.

The relief Committee were asked by a deputation of weavers to consider arranging for some of them to emigrate to the colonies, and, as a result, the good ship "Old Hickory", which had arrived with a cargo of flour for the distressed - the gift of Philadelphia, was fitted out with berths and sailed on the return journey with 253 passengers on 27th May 1863. The News Letter gives a moving account of the weavers and their families accompanied by an immense number of neighbours and friends passing through Lisburn to the railway station where they departed for Belfast and were then transported on carts and lorries to the quay. Their departure attracted a crowd of between 3000 and 4000 well wishers to see them off.

The greatly depleted relief fund was given a major boost in May 1863, when Alex. T Stewart, a successful New York businessman who originally came from Lissue, sent the barque "Mary Edson" with a cargo of bread stuffs and provisions valued at over £3000. Mr Stewart had also chartered the vessel for the return trip to transport distressed weavers and their families, and the numerous applications for free passage from every district made the task of selection difficult. The departure of the "Mary Edson" from Belfast Quay in July 1863 with 137 adults and children aboard, triggered scenes similar to the earlier voyage and inspired a poem by a Mr McComb.

Hail Mary Edson, goodly ship, her captain and her store;
And hail the gentle breezes that brought her to our shore;
And hail the name of Stewart, worthy of Irish soil,
Who sent relief in time of need unto our sons of toil.

And may our sons and daughters dear who now to thee we send
Find in thy land a heritage - in every man a friend -
Bind in the brotherhood of life a strong and lasting tie.
And link the Old World with the New in peace and amity.

Conditions began to improve, and the amount of relief required in August and September was much reduced, but there were still many families that required assistance due to ill health and bodily weakness. The sufferings which had been endured in the early part of the year still took their toll. In the country districts much distress still existed, for, although the demand for weaving had improved, the rate of wages continued so low that the best hands at the loom could not earn an adequate wage. The work of the Relief Committee wound down at the end of 1863 after an effective operation.


Ireland and her Staple Manufacturers by Hugh McCall
The Cotton Famine of 1862-63, Hugh McCall
Some Recollections of Hugh McCall, Lisburn
The Lagan Valley 1800-1850, E.R.R. Green
Newsletter, 1863.
The Cotton Handloom Weavers in the North East of Ireland,
E.R.R. Green U.J.A. Vol 6-9 1943-46

The Birth and Early Growth of the Linen

Industry c. 1700 - 1800

Mark Dewart is following an Honours Degree Course at Q.U.B. and kindly gave us access to his work on Dromore from which these extracts on the development of the Linen Industry in the Dromore area are taken.

The 18th Century saw the early development of the linen industry which was to become Ulster's and Dromore's major industry for the next 200 years. The physical conditions in Ulster provided an ideal environment for the linen industry. Linen was woven from fibres of flax and the mild, moist climate of Ulster allowed for the growth of along fibrous stem essential for the finest yarn. But these physical advantages had to be exploited and the first step was taken when William III invited Louis Crommelin to settle in the Lisburn area in 1698. Crommelin was appointed "Overseer of the Royal Linen Manufactory of Ireland".

Crommelin's work was laid on sound foundations. The Irish textile industry had a tradition stemming back to the 15th and 16th Centuries for the production of fine yarns. Also in the 15th and 16th Centuries there had been a steady migration from the North of England into the Lagan Valley area of people who had an indepth  knowledge of textiles. The consequences were that handloom weaving and bleaching was well practised by the time Crommelin arrived.

The Lagan Valley also provided a favourable position due to its swift tributaries enabling water powered machines to be used for the finishing of cloth. The Lagan also aided communications by allowing bleachers to collect unbleached cloth from all over the north.

The linen industry at this early stage would have had little effect on Dromore's townscape. This was because the linen industry was still a cottage industry and not factory based. Linen was fully integrated into the agricultural system as a method of supplementing agricultural earnings. All members of the family were involved, with the land providing the subsistence existence supplying oats, potatoes, flax and milk. After the linen had been woven and spun on the farm, the unbleached linen was brought to the Brown Linen Markets where drapers bought it. These were the middlemen linking the producer to the merchant. The draper bought the linen, bleached and finished it then he had to carry it to be sold in Dublin which was the only major commercial centre in Ireland; this exemplifies the still primitive nature of the Irish urban system.

Although the nature of the linen industry in the 18th Century was that of a cottage based industry in a rural setting it did have some effects on the development of towns. The morphology of Dromore remained largely unchanged as the linen industry was still a branch of agriculture and did not locate in the town.

However the linen industry reaffirmed the role of many a town as that of a market centre. Fine brown linen halls were built in Lurgan and Belfast. (They were termed Brown Linen Halls as the linen was sold unbleached). A more modest Georgian linen market hall was built in Dromore in 1752., E.R.R. Green claims that considerable quantities of linen were sold in Dromore, however, it was too near the great Banbridge linen market to develop. This indicates that Dromore's later role as a secondary linen town compared to larger nearby centres such as Lisburn and Banbridge had already been established. Dromore's primary function in the late 18th and early 19th century was as a market centre for linen and agriculture. Dromore had the only flax market in the Lagan Valley. Meal and potatoes were sold in the market house, with meat sold in the adjoining shambles. The market was held every Saturday, plus five fairs were held annually selling cattle, sheep, horses and pigs. Dromore was to act as the market centre for the middle tract of the Lagan Valley and a greater part of the mountain tract. Dromore's role was typical of most inland Irish towns.


Dromore also experienced this expansion in the bleaching industry because of its position on the River Lagan. The only evidence that I found of the existence of numerous bleachworks in Dromore in the early 19th Century came through retrospective comments. The Lewis's Topographical Dictionary of Ireland in 1837 commented that there were formerly several bleach greens at work in the vicinity of Dromore, but now there was only one. This comment was echoed by a Dromore Presbyterian minister who in 1836 said:

"We had formerly 6 bleachmills and greens, now only 1".

The one bleach green which still existed probably belonged to the firm of Messrs. Thomas McMurray & Co., who established a bleachworks at Quilly to the south of Dromore in 1827.

These comments also indicate the decline in the number of bleachmills which occurred in Dromore and the rest of Ulster. By 1850 there were only 90 bleach mills left in Ulster but they were, on average, much larger than those which had operated in the earlier years. The decline in the number of bleach mills started from about 1800 due to growing competition from the cotton industry in Ireland and England. Another reason is that the highly capitalist nature of the linen industry meant that only the most efficient survived and consequently many of the smaller bleachmills became uncompetitive - this would also account for the increase in the average size of bleachmills.

The decline in the power and number of bleachmills was compensated in Dromore by the location of other branches of the linen industry in the town. The cambric industry (which is a finer quality of linen) concentrated itself in Lurgan, Dromore and Waringstown. Thomas Scott moved his premises to Dromore in 1817 and became regarded as one of the principle manufacturers of cambric in Ireland. This was a high value product with it's selling price reaching as much as 1 guinea per yard and it's processing requiring skilled labour. Thomas McMurray would also boost the linen industry in Dromore by adding linen weaving to his bleachworks soon after his arrival in 1827.

Map 3.6 also indicated how the location of many of the processes were related to the river, with almost all the industry concentrated on the banks of the Lagan, showing that water was the still the power behind the linen industry.

By the 1830's Dromore had experienced a growth of the linen industry in the area surrounding the town. Map 3.7 is an Ordnance Survey map of Dromore in 1833 and although the street plan has remained relatively unchanged since the 18th century, there has been some tangible evidence of the growth of the linen industry. There was development of houses along Meeting Street and Mount Street, which were constructed in the early 19th Century as homes for textile workers. These houses were typical of much of the housing development built for linen workers being modest two-storey houses, "built with the hill". The only other major change to the street plan was with the construction of Prince's Street leaving the north-east of the square on the road to Hillsborough. The weaving and spinning industries were still relatively primitive and had yet to experience the industrial revolution. Consequently Dromore like the rest of Ireland was still a rural, agricultural society. With the exception of the dramatic growth of Belfast, the urban populations in Ulster had remained small. The conditions had not yet been created for the rapid expansion of the linen industry, and Dromore's main function remained that of a market centre.

Do You Remember?

by Amy Flanagan

J.G. Hamilton - Dunbar & McMasters Grocer/Funeral Undertaker (Church Street).

Always wore a white apron and was assisted in the shop by his son Alan. J.G. wore a wig which was ill fitting and very noticeable. The story goes that he had been very conscious of his lack of hair and had spent a lot of money on different preparations and hair restorers before resorting to this wig. One stormy day he was standing at his shop door, as he was known to do, when a sudden gust of wind removed the hair piece and unfortunately blew it round Neeson's corner. A young boy was quick to the rescue and soon had it back to its owner. Promptly J.G. put his hand in his pocket and presented the young lad with a 10 shilling note, saying that he was the first man to restore his hair.

Harry Mulligan - Vagabond

Another well known character around Dromore, he made his bed in a stable in McGuigan's Entry - Meeting Street where the Home Guard met. Eventually the Rev. Kilpatrick (then Rector of the Church of Ireland) made a bed for him and put it in the basement of the rectory where Harry had his own room for a number of years. However, the Rector being an astute man decided to put Harry to work in the garden at the rear of the rectory in order that he would be seen to be earning his keep. However, work and Harry did not agree, and Rev. Kilpatrick had occasion to remind Harry that the work was a long time in getting completed. Harry's reply was, "with the help of God we'll get it done", to which His Reverence replied, "Harry leave God out of this, 'we' will get it done". Later in life Harry married a lady known by the name "Paul Jones".

Samuel Lunn (Sammy)

Sammy was a handicapped gentleman with a big smile and the owner of a wicker wheelchair. He was lovingly wheeled around the town by his caring relatives. The chair was somewhat unusual as it had a long handle which enabled Sammy to steer. He was always to be seen in the Market Square on a Saturday afternoon and was a regular and faithful worshipper at "tent missions" which were very popular at the time and very well attended by the local population. On many occasions he would sit at the entrance and take up the collection for whatever mission was taking place.

Sergeant Flanagan

Sergeant Flanagan was an ex-army man who believed in the fairies, and he would have fascinated many an audience with his encounters with the little folk. He frequented Kate Creaney's pub in Meeting Street, and it was there that the Meeting Street boys received their informal army training when Sergeant Flanagan drilled them up and down the pub. Unfortunately everyone regarded him as a drunkard, but he turned to God later in life. Someone once asked him "Sergeant, do you say your prayers?" "No!" he replied don't say my prayers. I pray".

Samuel Agnew - The Bread Man (Sammy)

Always known as Sammy the bread man who first started his rounds with a horse and cart which would have been all over the road when you met him. On one occasion someone passed the remark to him that he should keep to his own side of the road. Back came the quick reply, "I would but I can't, for this is an American horse". He had a very sharp wit and was well known for his witty remarks and comments. Sammy was also one of the founder members of the "Dromore Vaudeville Company", and, along with the late William (Billy) Ellison, they would have been the Morcombe and Wise of the 1930's - 40' I also remember Sammy having a large wheel that he called the 'wheel of fortune' whit was very popular at local 'sales of work'. His catch phrase was 'Round and round the big wheel goes and where it stops nobody knows'. He always involved the audience in his stories and jokes and many a person left his concerts red faced. Sammy also had a very serious and sincere side to his nature and most of his life he spent working voluntarily for his beloved church, Dromore Non-Subscribing Presbyterian. He was a Sunday school superintendent there for many years, as well as serving on the committee and as a Church Elder. He collected lots of money for church funds and travelled the country far and wide accompanied by his wife Rachael, calling on church members, both young and old, at seeing to the elderly members welfare. On Christmas morning, it was always the custom  for Sammy to read from the gospel of St. John at the family service.

Rev. Alexander Elliot Peaston

A gentleman and scholar who was educated at Harvard University in America, Rev. Peaston was a very well read man, who wrote several books as well as composing a hymn for the space age. Although he was a clever man, he was hopeless when it came to Some chores involving the use of his hands. As the saying goes, 'he could hardly boil an egg He could have talked all day over a cup of tea and quite often, when he went to visit member of his congregation, he would have lost all track of time and forgotten to home, much to the consternation of many a harassed housewife.

Although he was an English gentleman, he joined with his fellow Irishmen and became member of the local Orange Lodge. He was known to leave on the 12th of July morning with his local lodge, Ballyvicknakelly L.O.L, and to grace Ballymoney Lodge, Banbridge on the return journey. He was of a very gregarious nature and well known in most part the country. When called upon to officiate at a funeral, he always gave the deceased a reference that would have taken them through the "Pearly Gates" and beyond.

Dan McMullan

Dan was the town dwarf and lived at Mossvale. He joined the circus and travelled far and wide with the travelling shows. When he returned to Dromore after playing in the circus, he would visit the local "dole office" to sign on. When the clerk would inquire of Dan's occupation, he would reply, "clown", much to the disbelief of the clerk.

Dr John Charles Wilson

Dr Wilson practised his surgery on the corner of Princes Street and Mossvale Road in a very small surgery. He was regarded as a very stern man but was held with much regard by most of his patients. In the days of home confinements, when he would have been called to the home of a woman about to give birth, he was always grateful for the help of one of the many local women who acted as midwife (these people were known as handy women and carried out their duties very efficiently). These women he held in great esteem. He was a most professional, no nonsense doctor, and many people will remember being taken to him after swallowing the odd coin or button. His standard threat to the ailing youngster would be, "If your mother has to bring you back here, I will cut your head off'. One story is told of the mother who's son swallowed a shilling  and had to be taken to the local hospital to have the offending coin removed surgically. An anxious neighbour inquired as to the welfare of the child after the unfortunate incident, and the child's mother replied, "There's no change yet!"

Dr Wilson showed great sympathy to many a mother who was left to bring up a young family while her husband served in the 1939 - 45 war.

Dan Quinn

Dan lived in a cottage at the Eagle Gates with his brother. He was of small stature and an expert French polisher, his services being called on by many people far and wide.

James Boal (Jim)

Bridge Street was the place to dine in the 50's and 60's, a popular spot being Jim Boal's cafe. It was a small confectionery and ice-cream shop which led down to a small cafe. It was kept scrupulously clean. Everyone will remember the Wise Old Owl that took pride of place on the counter and the accompanying lines of verse - A subtle word of warning to everyone.

There was an old owl
Who sat on the oak;
The more he heard
The less he spoke.
The less he spoke,
The more he heard;
Wasn't that a wise old bird?
William Johnston (Billy)

Billy also owned a confectioner's shop in Bridge Street which led into tea rooms that were managed by his wife Muriel. Billy always wore a white apron and a soft hat worn sitting on the back of his head. The tea rooms were designed as a quiet private area with snug type seating (enclosed tables). He was famous for his ice-cream which was of an excellent quality and flavour. During the war, your ration coupons could have been exchanged for your weekly sweet allocation.

Bertram Rogan (Bertie) ( His real first name was Robert not Bertram.  He was called Bertie to distinguish him from all the other Roberts in the Rogan family.) 

At the top of Bridge Street stood Bertie Rogan's Fish and Chip Shop. This was a well known and popular establishment which was a popular spot after a trip to the cinema. His fish and chips were delicious. The cafe was ran as a family business and Bertie was assisted by his wife Florence and members of his hard working family. You had a choice, you could "sit in" (dine in the cafe) or have a "chip in your hand" (a carry-out).

Charles Nicoletti (Charlie)

After Bertie Rogan gave up the fish and chip business, the premises were taken over by Charlie Nicoletti and his wife Jean who continued in the same manner as its former owners. However, Charlie was unique in that he served what he termed a "combine", which could be described as an entanglement of fish, chips and peas, a popular meal for the regular customers.

Kathleen Hitchens (Wendy Hut)

Another popular meeting and eating place was ran by Kathleen, most professionally and loyally, for many years. Kathleen saw many a romance bud and blossom in her cafe but was always discreet and was never known to tell tales. Her meat pies were a popular treat served along with a large plate of mushy peas. Other favourites were the delicious milk shakes and ice drinks. The seats were high-backed wooden benches which gave each table a certain degree of privacy. Kathleen was a genuine, sincere lady and to this day is still held in very high esteem by the many courting couples who went on to marry and still have many happy memories of Kathleen's, The Wendy Hut, which has now been transformed into a Chinese Take - away.

William Kelly (Billy)

Billy ran a bicycle shop in Bridge Street. Not only could you have purchased a new cycle, you could also have had your old one repaired, had punctures mended or bought a replacement tyre, tube or puncture repair outfit to carry out your own repairs, or have your gears checked or replaced. It was also the place to go to have your wet and dry wireless batteries charged up for the princely some of 6d (2 1/2p).

James McQueen (Watchmaker)

Dromore had two jewellers until the late 50's. James McQueen's was a family business selling various pieces of jewellery and watches. He was an expert watchmaker and spent many hours repairing watches as requested by his customers. On the opposite side of the town square was Armstrong's Jewellers shop which offered similar services.

Jack Ferris (Confectioners and Ice-cream parlour)

Jack's was another popular place for quality sweets and ice-cream. His ice drinks and milk shakes were delicious, and the superb choice of sweets and chocolate bars kept many a young child mesmerised for many minutes while they pondered over the selection.

For a number of years Jack had an ice-cream parlour upstairs which was really quite upmarket for Dromore in the 60's. It was fitted out with shining mirrors, gleaming chrome fittings and black and white furniture. A trendy place for the teenagers of that era. Jack always presented a gruff attitude to many of his customers, and few people will be aware of the most kind and generous side to his nature. He was a very caring person and showed great kindness to towns people who had the misfortune to suffer serious illness and be confined to hospital for long periods. Many relatives will recall calling with Jack to purchase sweets, ice-cream or cigarettes to take to the hospital for their loved ones and be surprised, when they asked the price, to be quickly sent on their way with a brush of Jack's hand and his Good Wishes to the patient concerned. This was a most sincere, genuine gesture which will never be forgotten by many customers.

The Temperance Hotel

As well as an amazing number of cafes and restaurants in Dromore in the 50's & 60's, there was also an hotel. The Temperance Hotel in Church Street was owned and ran by Albert Flanagan and his wife Rachael. Not only did they offer accommodation, and bed and breakfast for the weary traveller, but many a young couple, after tying the knot in one of the local churches, would then go to the Temperance Hotel to entertain their wedding guests. Dromore had some 13 pubs so you didn't have to leave the town to wine and dine.

The Undertakers

The town had a total of four funeral undertakers, two of which ran Spirit and General Merchants businesses; R.J. Poots and Owen Keenan. The other two were Dunbar & McMaster Grocers and Lyle McGuigan, who also operated a taxi service and sold petrol from pumps situated at the side of his house in Mount Street. Johnny Ellison was the local coffin maker and was assisted by his brother Billy and William Moreland. The premises were in Meeting Street and now are occupied by a dry cleaning firm.

Mrs Alice Neeson (Granny Neeson)

Mrs Neeson's fancy goods store adjoined the furniture and hardware shops. She had a big range of china and delft dinner and tea-sets, as well as numerous ornaments and knickknacks. She was well known for her generosity and no child collecting for a Girls or Boys Brigade sale of work was ever refused. They could be sure of coming away with a number of items for the "white elephant stall". "Granny Neeson", a typical Irish lady of her day, was always dressed in black with her hair caught back in a tight bun.

James Ardery

Just across the road stood the premises of James Ardery. The shop housed all kinds of everything, from a needle to an anchor - you could even have bought a sweel for a goat. When this was attached to the goats tether, it prevented the goat getting tangled as it grazed on the banks and the roadsides. Ardery's was also a popular meeting place, and locals and farmers alike would meet and congregate to enjoy a bit of local gossip and some good "crack". It was a warm waiting room for people from country areas to await transport to take them and their purchases home from town.

Mary and Daniel Gorman (Dan Gormans)

A small shop in lower Gallows Street owned and ran by Dan Gorman and his sister Mary. They also lived on the premises. The shop was quite small, dark and of a dingy appearance with a most pungent aroma of tobacco. On sale was pipe tobacco, cigarettes and all kinds of delicious sweets and penny and half-penny novelties. Gentlemen could have gone in and bought half an ounce of tobacco for their pipes. The tobacco would have been cut from a large block which would have been lifted onto the counter and placed on a cutting block that over the years had become deeply grooved with use. The shop always had a lovely aroma which emanated from the blocks of different varieties of tobacco stored on the wooden shelves.

Mary and Dan also provided a wooden bench for customers to rest on while they enjoyed a bit of chat or a bottle of lemonade. On a Sunday, the Sunday papers were on sale, and customers found it difficult to get in and out of the shop, especially around the time when the local church services ended. There was always a queue of customers, firstly from the Roman Catholic church of St. Colmans, and this would have been no sooner cleared than the various Protestant church goer's would be calling.

Dan and Mary were sadly missed by all the locals when they retired, and the business was eventually taken over by Thomas and Peggy McCann who lived next door.

Nan Allen's Hairdressers (Nan McCaw)

Nan ran a very successful hairdressing business right next door to the McCann home in Gallows Street, and many ladies will recall having their hair permed in this salon, or perhaps bringing their children for their first haircut.

Cissie Clarke

A popular and well known lady, Cissie could always be found standing on the corner outside the above establishment. Cissie would have a kindly word for everyone that passed by, and many a child was shoo'd on home from school if Cissie thought they were dawdling too long. Many a mother was content in the knowledge that Cissie would be there and see her children safely across the road. Cissie lived in Lottery Place and was able to run up and down to the corner and was always there when schools got out.

Lily Lindsay (Circular Road)

Lily was partially sighted and ran a small corner shop on the junction of Meeting Street and Circular Road. It was a handy store for people living in that area, her main sales being cigarettes and tobacco, and she was famous for a special flavour of lemonade. In those days lemonade was sold in large glass bottles with a rubber stopper. Lily kept her supply in a small shed at the rear of her premises, and in one particularly cold spell all the bottles of lemonade froze, and unfortunately her complete supply was wiped out in an instant when they all burst. Although Lily had very little eye-sight, she was an excellent knitter and mastered very complicated knitting patterns. Her Aran sweaters were the envy of many a sighted person.

Shoe Shops

There were four shoe shops. George McCallister in Princes Street sold shoes and boots and also "soled and heeled boots and shoes" giving the wearer many more years of wear. There was no such thing as a "luck penny" to be had when you purchased a pair of shoes from Charlie McCallister, as he prided himself in having his footwear reasonably priced to start with. However, most people came away with a free tin of shoe polish or an extra pair of laces.

Thomas Castle's shop was in Bridge Street. He ran a very successful business along with his wife, and local people always looked forward to his attractive window displays. Two windows on either side of the entrance door displayed ladies and gents shoes along with a fine selection for children. Thomas also served on the local district council and quite often his customers were really calling in for help or advice with a particular problem or perhaps enquiring about the possibility of being re-housed, rather than purchasing shoes. As was the custom, most school bags were also purchased from the local shoe shop, and very few school children didn't possess a leather school bag. Boys would favour the type that was carried on the back whilst girls would go for the satchel type with a metal bar to keep it closed. These bags, once purchased, would last most of your school days, as they could be stitched and repaired and handed down to a younger brother or sister.

X.L. Boot and Shoe Store was another popular shop ran by Frank Silcock and his wife Victoria. As in all the shoe shops, a very good quality shoe was stocked as well as a wide range of styles, sizes and fittings. Customers would have had their feet expertly measured and fitted. Shoe shops were very high class establishments and everyone was treated with the utmost courtesy.

William Wilkinson had his shop in Bridge Street. He also sold quality shoes and boots but was famous as a shoemaker, specialising in shoes for people with feet deformities. Customers came from far and wide to have shoes specially made for them. The local gentry would also have had their shoes custom-made by William who was eventually assisted by his son Will.

Duffy's Bakery - Church Street

A high class bakery and grocery store renowned for stocking a wide range of consumable items which wouldn't have been available in any of the other grocery stores in Dromore. The assistants were always quite elite, and there was an air of graciousness in the shop. A large bakery was situated at the rear of the premises, and the proprietors, Mr and Mrs Duffy, lived above the shop. A speciality of the bakery was the delicious floury baps which could have been bought for a penny and proved popular with the children from the local schools who would visit the shop on their lunch break. As was the custom in all grocers shops, biscuits and tea were 'sold loose' by weight, and bacon, cheese and ham were sliced as you bought them. Regular customers had a small notebook into which they wrote their weekly order and left it into the shop to be put up for them. Every Friday and Saturday, the shop assistants were kept extremely busy collecting the customers' requirements and packing them into a cardboard box to be delivered to their homes. This task would have been carried out by a young lad on a rather large black bicycle with a basket attached to the front handle bars.

Owen Cull's Bakery - The Square and Gallows Street

Owen Cull and his family ran a most successful bakery alongside a grocery and spirit business. Their bread was also delicious, and the baps and plain (un-sliced) loaves were very popular. Many a child/young person was sent to Cull's for a fresh loaf which, quite often, was literally just out of the oven. The bread was wrapped in a very soft tissue type paper which usually tore with the heat from the fresh bread making access to the bread much too easy. The delicious smell from the fresh bread and the childhood pangs of hunger resulted in many a loaf arriving home with quite a sizeable chunk missing from the centre and badly mis-shapen. Often a return trip was necessary, and this was accompanied with a severe warning of what would happen if the next loaf was not intact.

All the bakers in the town were most obliging people and come Christmas Eve, when most housewives discovered their oven was too small to accommodate the Christmas turkey or goose, husbands could be seen struggling to carry a large bird to the bake house where it would be cooked to perfection for a nominal charge.

Finally. Do you remember? Charlie Watson the Ventriloquist: Coal men - Henry Smith and Tom Carlisle: Aunt Jane Black, Meeting Street - her son ran a taxi business - Bill Hamilton drove for him: Ma Gamble, Mount Street - young children were frightened by her brusque manner, as she had a habit of shouting, "Come into the house and mind the bus": Constables Bailey and Moore - they served so long in the area they became very familiar with all the local characters and knew exactly how to deal with them: Davey Magill's cycle repair shop, Princes Street, and Mary Moreland's home bakery next door.

In the days of Jakey Hamilton

By John McGrehan

Early in the 1870's a man named John Hamilton later known as Jakey Hamilton came to Dromore. He came to work his patents in hemstitching and embroidering for the sole use of Henry Matier & Co. of Belfast. He had several patents in this particular field of activity. He made a beginning in rooms in Market Square but after a time he purchased some ground in Meeting Street on which he built a factory, which extended from the street to the edge of the River Lagan, in which he continued to work his patents and to improve hemstitching machinery.

The factory was considered to be a most modern one for it's time, being built with scotch brick and bordered with coloured brick in Georgian style. Some time about 1900 this factory was destroyed by fire and it would appear that only the gable at the side of the river was left standing. In later years, when alterations were made to windows, small portions of burned beams were discovered in this section of the building. When the factory was being re-built it is thought that the brick used came from the brickfield which was only a short distance from the factory site.

During the late 1880's it is recorded that a mill in Dromore was owned by E. McCartney. This mill was situated off Church Street at the bottom of what is now known as Mill Lane and was powered by a water wheel and up to some years ago this old wheel could still be seen from Downshire Bridge. The water to run this wheel came by way of a race which started from the Weir Stones down by the side of a field at the Mount, passing by the side of Graham's Yard, along the bottom of Mount Street, right across the side of the Square down to the mill. After powering the wheel the water then re-entered the River Lagan. Furthermore, the portion of the original race that was in Mount Street was open with a well on each side, the Urban Council had it covered over and it was used for car parking.

At the beginning of the century the mill buildings, race and adjoining ground were taken over by Mr. Hamilton who paid a rent of £72.00 per year. There must have been some vacant ground convenient to the mill available for building as some shops were erected in Church Street/Bridge Street and it is believed Mr. Hamilton was responsible for building these as he was a great person for erecting buildings with flat roofs! It is thought that this was to save rates. Before we leave the buildings in Church Street an amusing tale is told of the building at the corner of Church Street/Bridge Street. It is said that "the powers that be" asked Mr. Hamilton to have the building erected with a sloped corner but unfortunately they could not agree on the amount of money needed to do this. Mr. Hamilton had the first storey made with a square corner and from the second story up the building was made with a sloped corner the way that the Authorities wanted the building done in the first place, so there were awkward people even in those days!

Mr. Hamilton must have been a great engineer in his time as he planned to have the factory erected in the early 1900's to be powered by water. About 200 yards down from the start of the original race he had this race tapped and brought the water from the race over the river by means of a wooden aqueduct he caused to have erected. Mr. Hamilton owned land on which he had built Otter Lodge and this aqueduct was joined to a race he had made at the side of Otter Lodge grounds to the factory. The water from the race came downstairs into a portion of building built at the side of the factory in which were placed 2 turbines through which the water went into the river. One of these turbines supplied power for the machinery and the other turbine used to power a dynamo to generate electricity. The turbines were supplied by John McDonald of Glasgow and the dynamo by Geoghegan of Banbridge.

The flow and supply of water in the race was regulated by means of sluices. Some yards down from the River Lagan at the side of Weir Stones where the race started, there was a large sluice. During the summer and at times when there was a scarcity of water this sluice was closed down at evenings to let the water gather and when it was opened in the morning there was mostly sufficient water to keep the turbine providing power for the factory all day. In the original race just down below where the aqueduct joined the race there was a sluice. The purpose of this sluice was two-fold; one to stop the water continuing down the original race and directing it into the aqueduct and second if there was too much water going into the aqueduct to open this sluice so that the surplus water could escape down the original race. Then there was a sluice at the beginning of the aqueduct and when this was closed it meant that no water could get into it so that necessary renewals and repairs could be carried out. There was also a sluice some 30 or 40 yards from the factory which was opened every night to let the water from the race go direct into the river and thus preventing the race overflowing and flooding into the factory. The new factory that was built early in 1900's was a three storey building and was one of the first in the country in which machines were power driven and lighted up by electricity.

The power provided by the turbine was on the whole most successful and provided power for some 60 to 90 machines. The only time that the machines were not going as quickly as required was when there was a flood in the river and this prevented the water from the race getting through the turbine and back into the race as quickly as necessary, but this did not happen very often! When this did happen the girls working the machines soon let it be known and shouted "more steam!" The turbine used to generate electricity was most successful, the only problem was in turning on this turbine it was important not to turn it on to quickly in case some of the bulbs would be blown.

The ground floor of the building was used for laundering the goods and was most complete and up to date as there was a power driven washing machine and a large smoothing machine. There was also a section of the room used for hand smoothing and for making up, boxing and parcelling the goods ready for dispatch. In the middle storey of the factory the machines were placed and worked by the girls.

The top storey of the factory was used for cutting the goods ready for stitching and printing ready for embroidery. A section of this room was used for packing the goods into cases and cartons ready for despatch all over Great Britain and sometimes some went as far as Canada and Australia. On this top room was also a section for the offices. The products of this factory were a large selection of household goods such as bedspreads, sheets, tea cloths, tray cloths, table cloths, valances, pillow cases and bolster cases.

John Hamilton lived in Otter Lodge which he had built, probably with brick from the brickfield across the road. In the factory there was a spring and he had the water from this spring piped up to his residence and by means of a pump powered also from the turbine a supply of water was pumped up to the house when required. At the beginning this firm was known and run under the name of John Hamilton Hemstitcher and Manufacturer of Fancy Goods with the address of The Factory, Dromore.

In 1908 a firm was floated under the name of Hamilton McBride & Co. Ltd. to take over the business of John Hamilton with John Hamilton as Managing Director, his daughter Nellie as secretary, other shareholders being members of his family and James Crossin  McBride who resided at York House, Dromore. Over the years the shares changed ownership Many stories were told about John Hamilton but after a very busy and eventful life he died on 27th January, 1919, and is buried in First Dromore Presbyterian Graveyard,. but the firm continued to operate in Dromore until 1968 when it moved over to Manchester and is still producing and selling household textiles up to the present time.

It is said that John Hamilton was a most eccentric man and was related to the Nelson family who had a General Drapery, Boot Warehouse and Pawnbroking establishment in Rampart Street. The story is told that Joe Nelson wanted to borrow hedge clippers from John Hamilton and sent a boy up to ask for them. The boy went up and said "Jakey, Mr. Nelson wants the loan of your hedge clippers", to which John Hamilton replied, "Tell Joe Nelson that Mr. Hamilton is using the hedge clippers!"

Trade Notice.

Messrs. John Hamilton & Co., The Square, Dromore.

Every housewife loves fine linen, and on the right selection depends much of her future comfort. If she deals with Messrs. John Hamilton & Co., The Square, Dromore, she will be assured of the utmost value at extremely low prices. Everything in Linen for the household can be procured here, sheets, pillow cases, table cloths, etc. all of the finest quality.

A Moving Force

Rosemary McMillan

On copies of maps covering Dromore and District during the 19th and 20th centuries it can be seen that the position of the Constabulary Barracks has moved no less than five times since the formation of the force in the early 1800s. Knox, in his history of County Down 1875 records that " The first Irish Police Force was organised under the 54th of George the 3rd in 1814 but their pay and duties are regulated under the 6th of William the 4th chapter 13 passed in 1836. (Mr. R.Sinclair, curator of the R.U.C. Museum, has a copy of these first regulations which he believes may be one of only two left in existence), It was Queen Victoria who conferred the title Royal Irish Constabulary on the force in 1867.

From Knox we also learn that the police force in County Down in 1863 consisted of one County Inspector , seven Sub-Inspectors, eight Head Constables, " but the number varies from time to time". The total expenditure for policing the County in that year was £14, 905 The County Inspector was stationed at Downpatrick, and the Sub-Inspectors at, Banbridge, Newtownards and Rathfriland,  Downpatrick, Hillsborough, Newcastle, Newtownards and Rathfriland. There were about thirty constabulary stations situated at "suitable parts" over the County.

The map of Dromore for 1830-33 shows the Constabulary Barracks situated in Princes St. The name is printed directly across the street so it is not easy to state with any certainty which building it occupied but it is thought to have been on the left hand side of the street going towards Hillsborough and either beside, or in, No. 17.

The O.S. Memoirs of Ireland Vol. 12 log "a sergeant and four constables being stationed in the town of Dromore" and Police Records of that time, 1834-44, list the appointment of a Francis Murphy, Head Constable, 2nd Class, to Dromore on 21st November 1840. The then Sub-Inspector in Banbridge rejoiced in the Bronte-ish name of Brudenell Plummer.

Our map of 1859, again proved rather indistinct, in fact the Constabulary Barracks is not noted at all but, two constables, Daniel Leddy and, appropriately enough, Hugh Gun, are mentioned in both Police Records and Belfast Street Directories for the 1850's.

When a map was produced to correlate with the Griffiths Valuation, -our copy is for 1863, the Constabulary Barracks had moved to the area now occupied by Wm. Reids Newsagents. The Constable recorded as serving then, 1861-66, was a John H. Tuthill and there was also an acting Constable by the name of Thomas Hayes. During Tuthill's period of service the Barracks moved to its third location - this time in Church Street. He is recorded as serving there in 1866. Once again the exact position is not shown on any of the maps belonging to our Group, however, I have managed to ascertain that it was located in the building in which Sandy Ferguson now has his Barber Shop. The old cells, one for "ladies" and one for men are still there to-day complete with the original bolts on the doors. These premises were vacated by the Constabulary in 1923.Another colourful name appears in the Police Records for 1863 when the Sub Inspector at Hillsborough was one de Courcy Plunkett Ireland -1st class.

During the late 1860's and early `70's there appear to have been only two acting Constables in Dromore namely H. Hamilton 1866-68 and H. Keown 1870. Jos. Hanna policed the town from 1874 -78 when his post was then taken by Patrick Fitzgerald who continued to fill that position until 1884 during which period he was promoted to the rank of sergeant. Bassetts History of County Down 1886 names the town Constable as James Kearney while between 1890-92 the post was held by Constable Thomas Gallagher.

We entered the 20th century with men like Constable M. McNaughton 1903 and acting Sergeant J. Mallon being responsible for law keeping in Dromore. From 1910-1919, the period which covered events leading up to, and beyond, the First World War, this duty was carried out by a Sergeant Joseph Barton. In the Belfast Street Directory for 1925, two Sergeants are noted as serving in Dromore, Edward McClean and M. McMahon but Mr. Sinclair doubts the authenticity of this.

Between the wars the names of the men in charge of policing the town are Sergeant John William Tutty (1928-31) and Sergeant H. Crawford (1938-39)By the 1940's when the Police Barracks is depicted on the new town map as now occupying premises in Lower Mount Street, names like Sergeant W. McCarroll 1940-44, and Sergeant H. McCullagh 1946, appear in the records. The list of law keepers continues into the 50's and60's with such names as Sergeant J.C. Cross 1954, Sergeant S. Kidd 1959 and Sergeant R. Dunlop 1964.

With the seventies information was not so readily available. The format of the Police Records changed;- not official documents, they have become less comprehensive in recent years. They now reflect a wider range of activities and interests within the Force, rather than a list of postings. The Belfast Street Directories also no longer list the names of the men in charge,..Nevertheless the 1980's saw our local force on the move once again. This time to a building on the Banbridge Road referred to locally as "Captain Wallace's house". The armour like fortification of the building reflects the troubled times we have all experienced during the last quarter of a century.

So why all the moves? None of the buildings were purpose built but one of -the rules incumbent upon the Constabulary was the provision of living accommodation for the men. The change of site may have quite simply reflected the numbers of men, and possibly families, involved. More men - a larger place, fewer men - a smaller place. Among other reasons suggested to me are that perhaps leases ran out or landlords failed to make adequate repairs. The move may have been to what was deemed more suitable accommodation, with perhaps better out buildings for storage of essential items like coal. Overall it was not so much the size of the local Constabulary force which necessitated the moves but rather a search for more suitable accommodation.

Modernisation within the force, entailing part-time opening in Dromore and patrol cars, manned for the most part, by men unknown to the townsfolk, are all a far cry from the day when a Sergeants boot in the rear-end was an effective curb to incipient criminal activity and street urchins called out in mock fear "Run quick, here comes the Peeler!"

Dromore Parish

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Flax Growers in the Parish of Dromore 1796

1796 - As part of a government initiative to encourage the linen trade, free spinning wheels or looms were granted to individuals planting a certain area of land with flax. The lists of those entitled to the awards were published in 1796 and a copy of the list with a surname index of the spinning wheel entitlement is available at the Public Record Office Northern Ireland

Agnew James McClure Jacob
Carigan Mathew McCraken James
Connor Robert Misscamel Adam
Corbett John Mitchell James
Dickson John McMullan John
Donaldson Robert Montroe John
Ennis Joseph Moore Hugh
Gardner Thomas Pritchard John
Gordon Widow? Sampson George
Gribbon William Strain John
Herron John Thompson Daniel
Hothard Miss Alice Thompson James
Lowry Andrew Thompson John
Lylburn Samuel Thompson Widow?
Mackey James Ward Daniel
Magarry William Ward Thomas
Magary James Wilson John
McCaw Hugh

Childhood Memories of our "Wee" shops, c. 1940

Where have all our wee shops gone?---They have gone far away

Apologies for any errors and a few omissions.


This is a copy of a talk, Rex Russell done for the Dromore and District Local; Historical Group a few years ago.

Gallows Street

Audrey Hardware Watson Bar
Baxter  Greengrocer Neeson Grocer
Griffiths Draper Farmers Rest Bar
Dan Gorman Confectionary Mary Gorman Sweets
Watson Clog maker Nan Allen Hair dresser
Lindsay Childrens clothes Surgery Dr. Patterson
Ferris Ice cream, conf. Surgery Dr. Forsythe
Jess Cobbler Stewart Grocer, Radio
Cull Sweets Bradshaw General store
Mussen Tailor Adair Greengrocer
Cull Bakery Rice Cobbler
Fire Station
McComish Cobbler
Martin Auctioneer

Market Square

Cull Bakery, Bar
Russell Grocer Patterson Butcher
McQueen Jeweller Reid Newsagent
Mrs Lucy Café Russell Tailor, Draper
Bennett Saddler Baxter/Jardine Solicitors
McFadden Bar Osborne Sweets, Ice cream
Weir Hardware Armstrong Jeweller
Trench Central bar McVeigh Ladies Drapery
Leader, Press Printing, fancy goods Gracey Grocer
Bardon Greengrocer Sterling Chemist
Keenan Grocer, Bar, Undertaker Mercer Draper
Quail Butcher Dale Chemist,
Wendy Hut Café McMundy / Neeson *
Poots Grocer, Bar, Undertaker
Bennett Cycles, Taxi


Dicksons Court


R. Hamilton Linen Factory
Capt. Hunter Clerk of Petty Sessions
Pattersons Abbatoir


Prince's street
Hillsborough, Road
Lindsay Leader, Press Bardon Greengrocer
McCallister Cobbler Bingham Baby Clothes
Thompson Sweets Boyle Tailor
Rolston Blacksmith Turley Barber
Wellington Hotel Bar Moreland Bakery
Old Police Station Magill Cycle Shop
British Legion Inglis Depot Brown Bakery
Masonic Hall Head masters house Mr.Stolberger
Orange Hall Surgery Dr. Wilson
Agnew  Cobbler Sam Cherry Garage
Rice Cobbler Mrs Sterrit Sweets


Mount St.
Moss Lane
Poots Bar McDonald Cobbler
Keenan Restaurant McVeigh Grocer, Confect.
RUC  Barracks Barr Cobbler
Creighton Vegetables McGuigan Taxi, Undertaker
Fairground Graham Lagan Mills
McCrums Builders Suppliers


Bridge St.
Mercer  Draper Dale Chemist
Wilkson Cobbler McCracken Newsagent
Patterson Butcher Archer Childrens Drapery
Kelly Bicycles McMeekin Barber
Bus Bar Pub Preston Auctioneer
Downshire Bridge 1740/1885 Flacks Garage
Mercer  Draper Miss Mercer Milliner
Murphy (J.Boal) Café Woolen Hall Johnston
E. Boal Childrens Wear Johnstone Café
Castles Drapery,Hs. Furniture Spiro Downshire Frock,Co.
Martin Grocer Times Newspaper
Bingham Tailor Castles Shoes, Cobbler
Rogans Café
Rampart St.
Castle St. Sturgeon Bridge, Hemstiching
McCaldin Drapery Kilpatrick Barber
Gamble  Bakery Finlay Sweets
Tom Kelly Chips J.A. Magill Cobbler, 
John Roy Bookie J. McClaughan Painter,Decorator
Paterson Milk Boyle Publican
Patterson General Store Patterson Shoes
Wallace Grocery, Milk
Clokey Cobbler
Hamilton Draper, Pawnbroker


Meeting St
Martin Grocer McCaldin Drapery
Bingham Tailor Mrs McCandless Ladies Drapery
Stronge Greengrocer Porter Wood, Blocks, Smithy
Watson Grocer Watson Grocer
Ellison Coffin maker Dicksons Dromore, Hemstiching Co.
Mrs Kyle Millinery Covenanters Church
Gibson Grocer Scout Hall
Fitzsimmons Vet Martin Coal Merchants
Mcgreghans(Creneys) Grocer, Wool Pantridge Coach Builders
Mrs Leckey (A.Lindsay) General Store Jones Plumber
Anne Jane Sweets
Comacks Cobbler
Morgan Cobbler


Church Street
Dale  Chemist Neeson  Hardware
Ferris Icecream, Conft. Dunbar McMaster Grocer,Funeral Undertakers
Hale Butcher Miss Kennedy School Requisites
Silcock Shoes Ervine Grocery, Draper
Ervine/Eakins Drapery Duffy Bakery
Ulster Bank Nicoletti Clasic Café
Thompsons Hardware Wallace Solicitor
Jamesons  Drapery Flanagan Temperance Hotel
Byrne Chemist Northern Bank
McCleery Post Office Carlisle Coal Merchant
Surgery Dr.Cowden/Dr.Sterling Rectory
Stewarts Green Grocer Isaac Ferguson Barber
Mrs Kelly Sweets Walker Cobbler
Kirk Petrol, Sweets Thompson Electrician
Thompsons Petrol, Sweets Old Tech. College
McDonald General Store Beattie Milk
Strones Coal
Station/Train, 1863/1956
Mrs Smyth General Store